Both Pranab and Sangma camps confident of their candidate romping home
The counting of votes polled for the Presidential election on July 19 will start at 11 a.m. on Sunday in Parliament, with both camps — those of UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee and NDA-AIADMK-BJD backed nominee P.A. Sangma — being confident of romping home.
The Sangma camp has even indicated that they are all set to move the Supreme Court in the next few days to file an election petition against Mr. Mukherjee, if he is elected the winner. As per the law, the election petition can be filed by the candidate or at least 20 electors within 30 days of the publication of the result in the gazette.
The Sangma camp contends that Mr. Mukherjee had not resigned from the chairmanship of the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata, at the time of filing of his nomination. The post was an “office of profit” and candidates in the Presidential election were not supposed to hold such an office. The Sangma camp had challenged this before the Returning Officer (RO) and the Election Commission (EC), but both had turned down their plea.
Smooth vote count
Sources in the EC said elaborate arrangements have been made for a smooth counting process. Besides asking for the video recording of the entire counting process, the EC has deputed two of its Secretaries — K.F. Wilfred and K.M. Bhar — as special observers, to monitor the counting, in addition to two regular observers.
A possible delay
The actual counting may begin at noon, as the votes polled by 78 MPs in the 14 State capitals will be segregated from the boxes brought from the States. Similarly the votes of 8 MLAs from seven States who cast their ballot in the Parliament complex, will be removed from the ballot box of Parliament and added to the ballots from their respective States.
After that the counting of votes cast by the MPs will begin, followed by the votes of the MLAs, value of which varies according to the population of the States. The second ballot issued to Samajwadi Party president Mulayam Singh which was invalidated by the EC, will be removed before the counting begins.
Sources said normally the counting will be carried out in two tables as only the candidates and their election agents are allowed inside the counting centre. If they want, more tables could be added. The official election trends will be released after counting the MPs’ votes, and after counting of MLA votes from every 10 States.
After calculating the total value of votes polled by each candidate, the RO will total up the value of all the valid votes polled. The quota for declaring a candidate ‘elected’ is determined by dividing the total value of valid votes by ‘2’ and adding ‘one’ to the quotient, ignoring the remainder, if any.
After ascertaining the quota, the RO will see whether any candidate has secured the magic number on the basis of the total value of first preference votes polled in his favour. If no candidate gets the required quota on the basis of first preference votes, the RO will proceed to the second round of counting, during which the candidate having the lowest value of votes of first preference is excluded and his votes are distributed among the remaining candidate according to the second preference marked on the ballot papers.
The polling percentage this time was around 72 per cent of the total 10.98 lakh valued votes in the country .
Besides, Mr. Yadav, the vote of suspended BJD MLA from Orissa, Prabhat Biswal, will not be counted as he was physically dissuaded by the presiding officer and the poll observer during the poll for violating the secrecy of vote. Postal votes were not cast this time.